Many of us start off a new year — or other times — with resolutions.
I used to but gave up after never really being able to honor them for an entire year.
I’m guessing you’re the same.
That’s why I’ve started taking a different approach to things I want to do in my life. As I’ve aged, I’ve also become quite lethargic, which has lead to a variety of unhealthy habits such as little or no exercise, large amounts of caffeine intake, and poor food choices (read: Junk Food). These habits also make it comfortable for my Dark Visitor (mild depression) to visit and hang around awhile.
So, rather than trying to make large radical changes, this year I’ve decided to model some adjustments after what Tim Ferriss does. I’m a huge Ferriss fan and he writes about what he does in his own life — and, Tim believes in 6-month projects and 2-week life experiments in lieu of resolutions. I’m also a strong believer in the Japanese concept of Kaizen, which roughly translates to a practice of making very small positive steps towards a goal. By taking small steps, I believe it’s easier to move towards an overall goal more efficiently than trying for broad, sweeping resolution-type changes.
I write out each 2-week life experiment on a 3×5 card — I actually take a few days to do this, as things will occur to you as the days pass. I write only enough on each card so that I’ll be able to know what it means. I then organize the cards by category (I used four different categories of 2-week life experiments)) as you’ll see below. Then, as the time passes, I’ll look through the cards. I may discard one or two which I’m no longer interested in, and I may add additional experiments as the year goes along.
My overall objective is to complete 26 separate 2-week life experiments over the course of the year. Some of the experiments are completed independently of all others (meaning, I’m working on just one experiment at a time), and others may overlap, especially if they are from non-conflicting categories. For instance, while I’m only working on one physical activity during any two-week period, I may also be pursuing an intellectual activity at the same time. However, if I’m experimenting with a diet from the Diet and Health category, I’ll only experiment with one of them at a time.
I’ve followed Tim’s lead on the 2-week nature of activity because that time frame isn’t long enough to become too boring (thus making them easier to quit) nor lead to habits. However, after each 2-week period, I can continue with that activity for as long as I choose to, so long as it doesn’t conflict with another experiment.
Here’s how I’ve decided to organize my life with a series of 2-week life experiments. Other than grouped loosely by category, the activities are not in any particular order, nor is the “next one up” identified until I’m near the end of the current experiment.
During the experiments, I keep a very rough journal of what’s going on every couple of days and how I’m feeling. I’m especially looking for activities that keep my depression at bay and which I truly enjoy.
Unless noted otherwise, each daily activity is for 30 minutes.
I hope you’ll find a few of my 2-week life experiments that resonate with you.
Craftsy/Manual Life Experiments
— Daily decluttering of office, home office, and personal closets and other spaces. Donate/dispose.
— Learn and practice card and other magic tricks.
— Build transistor radio from a kit.
— Assemble another kit/project.
Diet and Health Life Experiments
— Paleo diet.
— Vegetarian diet.
— Intermittent fasting (eat only between 12– 6 pm each day).
— No caffeine.
— No alcohol.
— Juice or other cleanse.
— Learn and cook new vegetarian recipe daily.
— Complete electronics fast (no computer, TV, radio, Internet, phone).
— Complete news fast, but can use electronics.
— Give away $10 a day to a random person.
Physical Activity Life Experiments
— Daily walk.
— Walk or bike everywhere necessary; no use of car or other motorized vehicles.
— Daily 5 am hot tub; no music or other audio.
— Pool work out/exercises.
Intellectual/Mental Life Experiments
— Memorize three jokes per day; be able to repeat all at any time.
— Read (auto)biography of a non-business person.
— Listen to one hour of classical music per day; keep notes of favorites.
— Writing from 5 — 7 am.
— Follow a formal Canva course.
— Sitting (no reading, writing, music) lakeside or in a park.
— Write 10 ideas per day, per James Altucher.
— Read one classic literature novel that I’ve never read.
— Listen daily to News in Slow Spanish.
— Learn and use a cartoon-making app or program.
— Play piano scales.
— Write one childhood story each day.
— Memorize all countries and their map locations and capitals.
— Visit a museum each day for at least one hour.
So, fellow Mindtrekker, anything here work for you? Let me know in a comment.